Thursday, September 17, 2009


..... been posting about my summer and my SavageMan training and my adjustment to life off the Trail.

But, as I learned on the Trail, "Should have" is a useless thing to say. The fact is, I haven't, and I regret it. My emotions have changed, evolved, and morphed over the summer and I'd have done well to record it. I haven't had the heart for it. I've been holing in on the sofa a lot, reading books (on the Trail I often felt I'd give a lot for a chance to lie on a sofa with a good book); I've been spending totally unproductive time playing FarmTown on Facebook. I've mostly kept up my training but have had a hard time getting or staying interested in anything else. I got a message the other evening from my hiking partner, Jim Dandy. He's not at Katahdin yet but has reached Maine. He was about 230 miles from finishing when I called him and we talked for awhile. It made me want to go back to the Trail as soon as I can manage it. I've been looking at new recipes for dishes that will dehydrate well.

I've been asked by two of my readers for an update, which I find very gratifying and flattering. Folks are wondering about me?

OK, here's the scoop.

SavageMan is coming up on Sunday!!! I'm as ready as I can be... certainly can't get any readier at this point. Well, yes, I can, by eating well and resting well and staying calm.

Calm was a problem until I stopped freaking out about the impossible hill called The Westernport Wall, and started picturing myself pedalling up it "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." I went to a different church on Sunday, last minute decision, and that song was on the agenda, as well as "Love Lifted Me," also very appropos.... lift me right up that hill! The Wall is what it is and my attack on it will be what it will be. I've tried it 8 times now, made it twice.

I've ridden the entire bike course 4 times. The first time is described in my previous post. Ride #2 went differently: no bears except the hills themselves. Tried the Wall 5 times and fell 5 times, gave it up and went on. Decided the climb up Big Savage Mountain was a lot harder than I'd remembered. Didn't think Otto Lane and Maynardier Ridge were all that bad; Killer Miller Hill sucked.

Ride #3: Did not even try the Wall, rode around it. Big Savage still very impressive; Otto Lane not too bad; Maynerdier Ridge joined Killer Miller in "Hills that Suck."

Ride #4: Rode around the Wall again. Stopped at the top, looked down, thought, "From up here it doesn't look all that bad..." Walked down it, started from maybe 50 feet away on a cross street to get a little start, and ground up it. Several times I thought I was a goner and each time was surprised to find myself still upright and the pedals still turning. But I made it. On to Big Savage, which had gotten steeper and longer since my last time; Otto Lane finally joined the "Hills that Suck" list. But I finished the ride in 4 hours and 23 minutes, 7 minutes faster having ridden both around and up the Wall, than the last time when I'd ridden only around it. I'm not going for time, here; just hoping to beat the cutoff so I'll be allowed to run and finish the race. You are required not only to summit the Wall but also to finish the race, to get that brick.

On Sunday, the only way they can keep me off that Wall is to close the street. I am going to attack it. Going around is a valid option, no penalty for it; but, if I don't even ATTEMPT the Wall, I stand NO chance of getting a brick. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In the Half-Iron-distance race, I am the oldest female registered, the only one in my age group (55-59), and the only female from Garrett County, MD, the host county. I've been through previous years' registration lists, and I'm the oldest female ever to register. Which means I'll also be the oldest female finisher in the race's history. A feather in my cap even if I fall on the Wall!

But I want one of those bricks. My name engraved in a brick for an accomplishment, and that brick inlaid in the city street where I accomplished it. Eventually there will be a stone somewhere with my name engraved on it, but I'd like one for something I did in LIFE.

Three more sleeps. I pray for dreams laced with victory.


A Wild Celtic Rose said...

You will have ADRENALINE and experience on your side on Sunday.

You'll get that darn hill!!!

Good luck and (((HUGS)))

bunnygirl said...

Good luck on Sunday! You'll do great!

Anonymous said...

I know the Oldest Female Finisher has stick-to-it gumption, thankfulness, stamina, joy, finely honed ability, faith and wisdom.

Steve said...

I've been hoping you're OK.
Sounds like some more trail withdrawal. This has been a huge emotional year for you.
Don't forget the power that always comes when you strap on a number.
You've trained, you're rested, you are ready.
Go Ellie, Go.